National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week
ODOT urges Drivers to Look Up, Hang Up, and go ‘Slow for the Cone Zone’
COLUMBUS (Monday, April 19) - Aimed at reducing the 5,000 accidents in construction zones last year, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is urging drivers to look up, hang up cell phones, and go "slow for the cone zone" during this summer’s historic construction season.
ODOT is joining departments of transportation in all 50 states to recognize National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, a coast-to-coast effort to reduce accidents in highway construction zones.
Safety experts are taking special aim this year at motorists who are using cell phones while driving through work zones.
"There are a lot of variables in work zones - the cones, signs, equipment and workers. With reduced speed limits and traffic lane shifts, it’s important to slow down and be aware of your surroundings in a work zone at all times of the day - for everyone’s safety," said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris.
In 2009, there were 5,012 crashes in work zones along Ohio’s roadways. 13 people lost their lives. While the numbers are down from the year before, it still represents one work zone crash every two hours in Ohio.
To bring attention to motorist and worker safety in construction zones, ODOT’s Central Office headquarters in Columbus, several office buildings and county garages across the state will glow in bright orange light each night this week, as a visual reminder that work zones need undivided attention.
In addition to the orange lights at night, several ODOT facilities will be displaying 13 orange cones outside - paying tribute to the 13 motorists killed in work zone crashes last year.
Traffic message boards along Ohio’s interstate routes and near construction zones will also feature this year’s theme: Slow for the Cone Zone.
With more than 1600 transportation construction projects underway this summer - with projects in every county in the state - safety experts say it’s even more critical that drivers be alert and follow posted speed limits when traveling through construction zones.
An ODOT analysis shows that the causes of most work zone related crashes are speeding, vehicles following too close together, and drivers making improper lane changes.
To help drivers safely navigate Ohio’s historic construction season, ODOT is offering the latest information on all of the construction projects in Ohio that might impact travel on www.BuckeyeTraffic.org. ODOT’s premier website offers up-to-the-minute road conditions and details on highway construction projects in every area of the state.
For more information contact: Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640